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Overexpression of the MYB37 transcription factor enhances abscisic acid sensitivity, and improves both drought tolerance and seed productivity in Arabidopsis thaliana

Yu, Yong-Tao, Wu, Zhen, Lu, Kai, Bi, Chao, Liang, Shan, Wang, Xiao-Fang, Zhang, Da-Peng
Plant molecular biology 2016 v.90 no.3 pp. 267-279
Arabidopsis thaliana, abscisic acid, cotyledons, drought, drought tolerance, flowering, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genes, mature plants, mutants, phenotype, plant response, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, seed germination, seed productivity, seedling growth, stomatal movement, transcription factors, water stress
Although a lot of genes have been revealed to participate in abscisic acid (ABA) signaling, many of the additional components involved in ABA signaling remain to be discovered. Here we report that overexpression of MYB37, a R2R3 MYB subgroup 14 transcription factor in Arabidopsis thaliana, confers hypersensitive phenotypes to exogenous ABA in all the major ABA responses, including ABA-induced inhibition of seed germination, cotyledon greening and early seedling growth, and ABA-induced stomatal closure and inhibition of stomatal opening. Interestingly and importantly, MYB37-overexpression improves plant tolerance to drought, enhances growth of mature plants and seed productivity, thought it delays flowering, which suggests that this gene may be used for improving crop adaptability to drought environment and productivity. However, a myb37-1 knockout mutant displays wild-type ABA responses most likely due to a functional redundancy of the multiple MYB members. Real-time PCR analysis shows that upregulation of the MYB37 expression changes expression of a subset of ABA-responsive genes. Together, these findings suggest that the MYB37 transcription factor plays an important, positive role in plant response to ABA and drought stress, and meanwhile, it plays a positive role in the regulation of seed production.